Understanding the History of Yoga

If you look at the history of yoga, it is believed that yoga started some 5000 years ago and came out of the Stone Age Shamanism. The cultural similarities between Mehrgarh, Neolithic settlements and Hinduism are the reason for this belief.

Early has a lot of similarities with Shamanism. Shamanism wanted to go beyond humanism and this is the reason for that thought. Shamanism’s goal is to heal the members of that community and also to act as a mediator.

Archaic yoga which is also community oriented has the same objective just like Shamanism. Yogis did the improvement for individual enlightenment, recovery and salvation.

Archaeological evidences are also found in the Indus Valley. The stone seals found in the Indus valley had yoga postures. History books circa 3000 BC have the artifacts and they are linked to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization.

This is the largest civilization that existed in the world. This is a civilization for a maritime society that exported goods to Africa and Middle East. Sewage systems and geometrical brick roads were also laid during this civilization. Even multi-storey buildings were constructed in this civilization.

The oldest scripture called the Vedas were also brought by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. The Vedas are a compilation of hymns. The Vedas are commended as high power and they had the oldest recorded teachings of yoga.

In the Vedic or pre-classical yoga the intelligence of Vedas were described in ritualistic ceremonies. If you want to go beyond the ritualistic ceremonies you need the assistance of the Yoga practitioners.

Once yoga was spread across the world there was a need to have a standardization of yoga. Only if the standardization is there any person can practice it. Hence C.E. Patanjali composed the seminal text in the second century and this was called the classical yoga or the yoga sutra.

Post classical yoga has a lot of history and this gave rise to the Hatha yoga and the Tantra yoga. The yoga schools taught these. The present state of yoga was adapted from the post classical yoga. Only during this stage it has evolved a lot and introduced to many people worldwide.

It was in US in the 1800s. recent decades saw the evolution faster and Swami Sivananda is one of the prominent gurus to master yoga. Schools were opened by him in Europe and America. With this evolution we see that it is easier to learn and understand now than it was during the early days.

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